Economy meets progress: women’s place in the world

Two events, Women in Africa in Marrakesh and Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society in Paris, are taking place within a week of each other. Both have a common objective: empower women to contribute to the economy and stimulate socio-economic development in their countries. Orange has been committed to aiding digital inclusion and women’s rights for many years and fully supports both of these events.

Global initiatives behind women’s empowerment

African women produce up to 65% of the continent’s economic resources, yet account for only 8.5% of non-agricultural employment, a startling fact that has given rise to the Women in Africa initiative. This global movement seeks to put women’s entrepreneurship at the heart of building an inclusive Africa, bringing together more than 300 women and men from Africa and around the world at its first summit held in Marrakesh from 25 to 27 September 2017. Delegates discussed the theme “investing for better governance with African women” during master classes and workshops, and shared ideas on challenges such as agriculture, energy, water and entrepreneurship.

The Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society is taking place in Paris on 5 and 6 October 2017. Created in 2005, this event will bring together 120 speakers and 2,000 delegates from 85 countries behind an ambitious theme announced by CEO Chiara Corazza: “move from a think tank approach to a proactive project approach”. In addition to issues related to advancing women’s rights, the programme also includes topics such as the impact of new technologies, urbanisation, climate change and the rise of populism.

Orange wholeheartedly supports these two events, sharing their vision and mission to include women in the economy across all of our operating countries.

Africa: women are the heart of social development and change

Nowhere is the role of women more crucial to economic and social development than in Africa. That continent full of promises has to create its own development path, taking into account women as the key factor to lead Africa to a brighter future. Interview with Elisabeth Medou-Badang, CEO of Orange Cameroon and Aude de Thuin,  Founder and President of Women in Africa.

Uniting women with digital technology

Giving women widespread access to ICT would generate an increase in per capita income of 20% in developing countries.

Source : OCDE 2008

Orange is committed to using digital technology to empower women, notably through our m-Women programme in Africa. Our actions in this field cover a broad spectrum: access to health or agricultural information, micro-credit and micro-savings, support to start a professional activity or anonymisation to prevent harassment. Indeed, security and harassment are the main barriers to mobile adoption by women in Africa and the Middle East. The “Private Recharge” service enables Orange Egypt subscribers to top-up their credit without having to give their mobile phone number to the reseller.

Other initiatives supported by the Group notably through the Orange Foundation include the Digital Centres programme, which promotes women’s professional insertion into the workplace by offering long-term digital training to unskilled and unemployed women to help them find a job or change their career. “I’ve learned computer skills. Before that, I never touched a computer, so I was sort of illiterate in modern-day terms. Now I can find my way around Word, Excel… and that will really help me a lot when it comes to finding work,” attests a single mother who has benefitted from the programme.

And at Orange?

Our commitment to empowering women is reflected throughout the Group, for which professional equality is a driver for digital transformation. Women make up 33% of the Executive and Management Committees (versus an average of 14% in CAC 40 companies). Our goal is to achieve a ratio of 35% of women in management positions by 2020.